Protest over University of Central Lancashire's company plan

Protesters at the University of Central Lancashire
Image caption About 100 students and lecturers took part in the protest

About 100 students and lecturers have taken part in a protest in Preston, claiming there are plans for the city's university to become a limited company.

Protesters said the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) wanted to become "a for-profit business".

The University and College Union (UCU) said the scheme caused "deep concern".

UCLan said it was considering becoming a company limited by guarantee (CLG) in the way that some charities and not-for-profit companies operate.

Vice-chancellor and chief executive Malcolm McVicar said there would be no shareholders or change in status.

He said the move was "neither privatisation nor a prelude to privatisation" as that would be "incompatible with the mission, objectives and charitable status of the university".

He added: "The university board has made it clear to all staff that it would not contemplate any move to a CLG if that had any negative impact on the position of staff and students."

Peter Lucas from UCU said the move would "bring us significantly closer to becoming a for-profit university" and that would "make it easier for for-profit companies, including private equity funds, to gain access to, and influence over, the university's assets".

However, Edd Graham-Hyde, president of the students' union, said he supported the move.

He said: "Moving from a higher education corporation to a company limited by guarantee and charity, provides extra protection from the government, should the government want to shut UCLan down.

"It means we can absolutely secure the long-term education of students."

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